Eleocharis acuta R.Br.

Common Spike-rush

Prodr. 224 (1810) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Perennial with short to long rhizome. Culms tufted, terete but ± trigonous at apex, 10–60(–90) cm high, 0.5–3 mm diam. Spikelet narrow-ovoid to narrow-cylindric, 5–30 mm long; glumes long-acute to broad-acute, midrib distinct, straw-coloured tinged red-brown to dark red-brown, 3–4.5 mm long; hypogynous bristles 6–9, flattened below, usually strongly retrorsely toothed, rather unequal, reaching or somewhat overtopping the style-base, occasionally reduced or absent; stamens 3; anthers 1.1–3.4 mm long; style (2–)3-fid. Nut plano-convex to biconvex, angles obtuse, broad-obovoid, shining, yellow to dark brown, 1–1.7 mm long, 0.8–1.2 mm diam., external cells minute, shortly vertically oblong; style-base from one-quarter to one-half as wide as nut. Flowers spring–summer.

Brid, CVU, DunT, EGL, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, GGr, HNF, HSF, LoM, MonT, MuF, MuM, MSB, NIS, OtP, OtR, RobP, SnM, Strz, VAlp, VRiv, VVP, WaP, WPro, Wim. All States. New Zealand, New Guinea. Widespread and common in swamps, on lake margins and along watercourses throughout the lowlands, occasionally extending to the subalps (e.g. the Nunniong Plateau).

There is a form of this species chiefly found in the far north-west of the State, on sandy or silty soils of lake and stream margins. These plants are smaller than in typical E. acuta, and have the bristles reduced. However, there are no obvious qualitative characters to separate this form from E. acuta. Further study is needed to establish the status of this form.

Source: Wilson, K.L. (1994). Cyperaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 2, Ferns and Allied Plants, Conifers and Monocotyledons. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2021-04-19
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Lilianae
order Poales
family Cyperaceae
genus Eleocharis
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <http://avh.chah.org.au>. Find Eleocharis acuta in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Eleocharis acuta in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present native
Murray Mallee present native
Wimmera present native
Glenelg Plain present native
Bridgewater present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina present native
Murray Scroll Belt present native
Robinvale Plains present native
Murray Fans present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Warrnambool Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Greater Grampians present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
Northern Inland Slopes present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Wilsons Promontory present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Otway Ranges present native
Strzelecki Ranges present native
Monaro Tablelands present native
Victorian Alps present native
Snowy Mountains present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory